Baked Chicken Legs with the best garlic-lemon-dijon marinade that is easy and excellent. Roasting the chicken legs results in crispy skin and a juicy center.

Baked Chicken Legs on Baking Sheet garnished with parsley

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Chicken is on the regular rotation at our house. We love chicken dinners like Chicken Tetrazzini, our favorite Chicken Parmesan, and Chicken Alfredo Pasta because they are simple, tasty, and inexpensive.

Why You’ll Love this Chicken Recipe

There’s something so comforting and welcoming about the aroma of Roast Chicken in the kitchen, and you’ll get compliments on these chicken legs before they even come out of the oven.

The marinade really makes this recipe. Have you tried mustard on chicken? It’s mouthwatering. Everything about this recipe is good from the tasty marinade and easy prep to the juicy dark meat center and crisp salty chicken skin.

Baked Chicken Legs recipe with garlic, lemon and dijon

The Best Chicken Marinade

Here’s our secret – we use the same marinade on our famous Baked Salmon. We were thrilled to find out it’s amazing on chicken as well. P.S. This also happens to be low carb, paleo, and keto-friendly.

  • Olive oil – we used light oil which has a higher smoke point, not extra virgin
  • Garlic – pressed or finely minced cloves
  • Parsley – flat-leaf or Italian parsley
  • Lemon juice – freshly squeezed is best.
  • Mustard – Dijon mustard adds great depth of flavor
  • Salt and black pepper – season generously as some of the marinade is lost to the baking sheet.
Ingredients for baked chicken legs

How to Make Baked Chicken Legs

Chicken legs are our favorite because they are dark meat so they naturally have great flavor. Coat them in this amazing marinade and these may just be the tastiest chicken drumsticks you’ve had.

1. Make the Marinade: Stir together all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl.

The best chicken marinade in a bowl

2. Marinate the Chicken: Place chicken legs in a large mixing bowl or a large Ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss by hand to evenly coat the chicken and get some of it under the skins. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 6 hours or overnight, turning the legs once.

Step by step how to marinate chicken

3. Bake Chicken Legs: Preheat the oven and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or a Silpat liner. Arrange chicken skin-side-down. Brush chicken legs with any extra marinade left in the mixing bowl. Bake 25 minutes at 400˚F skin side down, then turn the chicken legs over and bake another 25 minutes.

For Extra Crispy Skin: bake on a rack for crisp skin all around then broil on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until the skins have browned.

Baked chicken legs before and after baking

Air Fryer Instructions

Air fry chicken legs at 375˚F for 20-25 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Cook until the internal temperature reaches at least 165˚F. You’ll need to cook in batches for most air fryers to keep them in a single layer so air can circulate. 

Can I Substitute the Chicken Legs?

If you want to make this recipe with different cuts of chicken, you’ll want to adjust the timings and cook to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. If using chicken breast or tenderloins, cut the marinating time in half.

  • Chicken breasts: bake for 25-30 minutes
  • Chicken tenderloins: bake 15-20 minutes
  • Bone-in, skin-on thighs: bake 45- 50 minutes
  • Boneless chicken thighs: bake 20-25 minutes

Serve With

Perfectly baked chicken legs

Tips For Oven-Baked Chicken Legs

  • Pat dry chicken: use paper towels to pat dry chicken before applying marinade.
  • Give it time to marinate: The secret to excellent chicken legs is lengthy marinating (at least 6 hours and ideally overnight). For even more flavor, massage the marinade under the skin of each chicken leg.
  • Use the pan drippings: brush chicken with the lemony sauce drippings in the baking pan after they come out of the oven.

For Easy Cleanup: line the baking sheet fully with foil before baking to avoid scrubbing the pan.

Make-Ahead

  • Refrigerate – cooked chicken can be stored covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
  • Re-Heating – place leftover cooked chicken in the oven or air fryer at 375˚F until warmed through.

More Chicken Recipes

Baked Chicken Legs with Best Marinade

4.98 from 298 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Baked Chicken Legs recipe with garlic, lemon and dijon. An easy and excellent chicken marinade with so much flavor. Learn the secret to great chicken legs! | natashaskitchen.com
Baked Chicken Legs recipe with garlic, lemon and dijon. An easy and excellent chicken marinade with so much flavor. The longer you marinate this, the better (at least 6 hours and ideally overnight).
Prep Time: 6 hours
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 14 chicken legs or drumsticks
  • 4 lbs 14 count Chicken Legs or drumsticks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, (Use light oil, not extra virgin)
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 4 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice from 1 large lemon
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp salt, (we use fine sea salt)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients and stir or whisk together until well blended .
  • Transfer chicken legs to a large mixing bowl or a large ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss with your hands to evenly coat the chicken, pushing some of the marinade under the skin of each chicken leg for richer flavor. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate 6 hours or overnight, tossing chicken once while marinating.
  • Preheat oven to 400˚F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or a silpat. Arrange chicken skin-side-down and bring chicken to room temp while oven preheats. Brush chicken legs with any extra marinade left in the mixing bowl. Bake at 400˚F in the center of oven for 25 minutes skin-side-down then turn the chicken legs over and bake additional 25 minutes skin-side-up. For crispier skin, broil on high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until skins have browned.*

Notes

*For extra flavor, brush chicken legs with the lemony sauce drippings in the baking pan after they come out of the oven and serve garnished with freshly chopped parsley if desired.
Note: Much of the oil, marinade and salt will end up in the bottom of the pan and discarded after baking which makes it difficult to gauge the nutrition facts on this recipe. 

Nutrition Per Serving

179kcal Calories12g Protein13g Fat3g Saturated Fat68mg Cholesterol419mg Sodium165mg Potassium160IU Vitamin A3.1mg Vitamin C11mg Calcium0.6mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Baked Chicken Legs with Best Marinade
Amount per Serving
Calories
179
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
13
g
20
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Cholesterol
 
68
mg
23
%
Sodium
 
419
mg
18
%
Potassium
 
165
mg
5
%
Protein
 
12
g
24
%
Vitamin A
 
160
IU
3
%
Vitamin C
 
3.1
mg
4
%
Calcium
 
11
mg
1
%
Iron
 
0.6
mg
3
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked chicken legs
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 179
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Mary Ellen
    April 8, 2024

    Would this work with chicken leg quarters? I was thinking of using 7 and doubling the sauce. Not sure how much longer they would need to cook.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 8, 2024

      Hi Mary Ellen, that sounds delicious. I would probably do at least 30 minutes per side and double check to make sure they reach 165˚F at the thickest part of the chicken.

      Reply

  • Dell
    April 1, 2024

    Can I double the marinade but not the chicken legs ? I made this last time but the flavor wasn’t strong enough.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 1, 2024

      Hi Dell! Yes- that would be fine.

      Reply

      • Dell
        April 6, 2024

        They came out amazing! I doubled the marinade and marinated it over night. Delicious

        Reply

  • Daveena
    March 19, 2024

    I am trying to make this marinade tonight so the chicken can sit overnight. Can you substitute spicy brown mustard for the Dijon?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 19, 2024

      That would be fine. I hope you love the recipe!

      Reply

  • Dee
    March 19, 2024

    This recipe looks easy and delicious. I will be trying this recipe.
    Thank you 😊

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 19, 2024

      Sounds good! I hope it becomes your new favorite.

      Reply

  • Mary
    March 10, 2024

    why should you not use extra virgin olive oil, what will happen if you do?
    Thanks
    Mary

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 10, 2024

      Light olive oil has a higher smoke point and handles heat better.

      Reply

  • Mary
    March 4, 2024

    Ive made this and was wondering if this would work on an outdoor grill? Thanks

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 4, 2024

      Hi Mary, I haven’t tried grilling them but I bet that would taste amazing! Here’s what one of my readers wrote: “Omg absolutely AMAZING. I didn’t change a thing and the chicken was so moist and flavorful. We baked 12 of them and grilled 2 and both ways it was absolutely delicious. Definitely saving this one!” I hope that helps!

      Reply

  • Naz
    February 20, 2024

    I found 1 tbsp of salt a bit much. I had added potatoes and carrots to the pan which were inedible. Is that measurement correct?
    The chicken turned out well.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      February 20, 2024

      HI Naz, the measurement is correct but you can adjust to taste. Did you use the full amount of chicken? 1 Tbsp for 4 lbs of chicken legs is a reasonable amount. I haven’t tried tis with adding veggies tot he pan – I wonder if the marinade was overpowering for veggies?

      Reply

      • Naz
        February 20, 2024

        I used a little less chicken as I added the veggies but perhaps you hit it on the nose. The marinade was delicious but likely too much for the veggies. I will try it again and adjust the salt if I make it with veggies again. Thanks!

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          February 20, 2024

          I hope it works out better this time around.

          Reply

  • VS
    January 22, 2024

    I don’t have light olive oil, only extra virgin. Should I use canola instead? Thank you

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 22, 2024

      Hi VS, if you don’t have light olive oil on hand, canola will work as a great substitute since it has a mild flavor and high smoke point making it suitable for this recipe. I hope you love it!

      Reply

      • VS
        January 22, 2024

        Thank you. Just getting the marinade ready for cooking tomorrow!

        Reply

  • Meldy
    January 10, 2024

    I’ve made this a few times. It’s a hit. Can I make it with chicken thighs?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 10, 2024

      Hi Meldy! Yes, see my note above, “ Can I Substitute the Chicken Legs?” Just use a Food thermometer (Amazon affiliate link) to check for doneness.

      Reply

  • Emily
    December 5, 2023

    Hi there! Can you make these ahead and freeze leftovers for later?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 5, 2023

      Hi Emily, yes you can. You may check the Make-Ahead tips that I have provided in the recipe.

      Reply

  • Marilyn Stiles
    November 8, 2023

    My husband and I both loved this recipe! A real keeper. Marinade the night before in a freezer bag and cook the next day exactly as directed. My husband hates picking up chicken to eat and he requested more the next time I make it.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 8, 2023

      I’m happy to know that, Marilyn. Thanks a lot for sharing! I hope the both of you will enjoy all the recipes that you will try.

      Reply

  • Pam G
    November 4, 2023

    Chicken drumsticks turned out delicious. I will definitely be making this recipe again.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 4, 2023

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Pam!

      Reply

  • Claire Traupmann
    October 29, 2023

    Can the chicken leg be done in air fryer ? Instead of oven to get crispy?For how long /temp?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 29, 2023

      Hi Claire, yes it can be done using the air fryer. Please see my Air Fryer Instructions in the recipe.

      Reply

  • Lena
    October 3, 2023

    This recipe lives up to its title of best ever marinade lol. Can’t believe it’s so simple and sooo good- these cook perfectly in the airfryer. P.S. got your cookbook in the mail today!!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      October 3, 2023

      That’s wonderful, Lena! So glad to hear that.

      Reply

  • Colleen
    September 21, 2023

    Used drumsticks and bone-in chicken thighs and it turned out amazing! Everyone enjoyed it and sadly no leftovers!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      September 21, 2023

      So glad they were a hit!

      Reply

  • Kim K
    August 22, 2023

    I am generally not a fan of chicken legs, but this recipe is amazing! So flavorful! Definately making again!!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 22, 2023

      I’m so glad you liked it, Kim!

      Reply

  • Ariana
    August 2, 2023

    hi natasha. i was planning to make this for school. i just want to ask what did you mean by saying “bake on a rack for crisp skin all around”? thank you.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 2, 2023

      Hi Ariana! You can make these on a lifted metal rack so that the drumsticks get crisp all around, underneath as well. If you set them directly on the pan, they will sit in the drippings and underneath the drumsticks will not be crisp. Still delicious either way. I hope you love the recipe!

      Reply

  • Debi
    July 12, 2023

    We had these last night. Excellent flavor! Even my husband commented on how flavorful they were! Will be making again and going to experiment with this marinade on other meats, probably start with pork chops!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 12, 2023

      That’s great, Debi! Thank you for the feedback.

      Reply

  • Daniela Mosca
    June 14, 2023

    Hi! I didn’t use all the marinade because used 1 pound of chicken. Can the put the leftover marinade in the freezer?

    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 15, 2023

      Hi Daniela, I haven’t tried freezing the marinade but I guess it’s fine if it’s just for a couple of days?

      Reply

  • Yole
    May 18, 2023

    Hi. I just looked up your recipe and getting ready to make it. I noticed that I have whole grain garlic Mustard. Can I substitute that for the Dijon?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 18, 2023

      Hi Yole! Yes, I think that would work fine too.

      Reply

    • Lesley Sutton
      August 18, 2023

      Was very disappointed with this recipe, an hour is far too much cooking time and the chicken just stewed in my oven and went dry, no flavour

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        August 18, 2023

        Hi Lesley, we haven’t had that experience, especially with the marinade its a very flavorful meal. I’ve looked through the comments to see if anyone had any similar feedback. I hope you give this a try again soon, I recommend ensuring nothing was substituted with the ingredients or the process.

        Reply

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